Before founding Volta Power Systems, I spent over 15 years providing leadership in advanced material science at Johnson Controls. Acting as the Manager of Advanced Manufacturing for lithium-ion battery production, I had the opportunity to oversee the build of the first large format lithium-ion facility in the US. Prior to joining Johnson Controls, I worked as a Manufacturing Engineer for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where I worked with Shingtsu consulting to apply Toyota manufacturing systems to Boeing manufacturing.
In 2014, I also co-founded Jolt, a company that uses molecular design principles to create organic compounds to help revolutionize the field of energy storage. Now, I leverage my professional experience to lead two unique companies focused on energy storage technology.
What is your field of expertise?
With specialized knowledge of large capital projects involving chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering, I have spent my career driving innovation and process improvements. Through this background, I have co-founded two unique technology companies, both focused on solving problems in the energy storage industry.
Describe your journey to where you are today.
In 2009, I was asked to lead a new opportunity through the Johnson Control-Saft, a joint venture where I was responsible for a $250M investment in the first large format automotive-focused lithium-ion plant. After a successful launch, the EV market slowed, and I led a research and development project to apply our lessons learned in advanced lithium-ion toward smaller to midsize market applications. With the blessing of Johnson Controls-Saft, we spun this technology off to found a new company.
With support from multiple investors, I co-founded Volta Power Systems, where we design auxiliary li-ion systems for mobile applications like RV, marine, and work trucks across the United States. I leveraged my experience in advanced energy technology to develop a storage solution capable of storing more energy in a smaller space with faster charging times and access to more power utilization than alternative lithium-ion solutions.
What does your company do, for whom, and how does it fit into the bigger picture of solving global issues with clean tech?
Volta Power System is a fast-paced, growing business dedicated to delivering advanced, automotive-grade power systems that provide safe, powerful, and simple solutions for small to midsize businesses. Our energy storage technology is designed to fit a range of mobile applications, including RV, marine, and specialty vehicles. To date, over 5,000 Volta-equipped vehicles are on the road. Based on data from the Argonne National Library and conservative run-times, estimates show that approximately 23 million pounds of carbon emissions are mitigated annually by eliminating auxiliary generators and reducing idling on those vehicles.
I also founded Jolt in 2014 along with Tom Guarr, a fellow scientist and innovator in West Michigan. The company is using molecular design principles to create organic compounds that will revolutionize the field of energy storage, including improved battery safety and grid-scale organic redox flow batteries.
What do you think is the most important thing we can be doing in terms of clean tech solutions?
The best sustainability-driving technologies are the real, practical ones we can implement right now to drive change. I helped found Volta Power Systems on this ideology. While reducing vehicle and generator emissions is an admirable goal, EV technology is not yet in the right place to support both full-EV drivetrains and the additional power RVs and fleet vehicles need.
For low-volume vehicles, EVs are still relatively expensive, not supported by adequate infrastructure, or simply haven’t been developed at mass scale yet. Despite this, we can still leverage the incredible technologies we do have to address the areas most emissions stem from. Many work vehicles spend 70%+ of their time idling, so why not eliminate most of a vehicle’s emissions at a fraction of the cost of electrifying the whole drivetrain?
LinkedIn: Jack Johnson